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ALL784 - Life Writing Now


2020 unit information

Important Update:

Classes and seminars in Trimester 2/Semester 2, 2020 will be online. Physical distancing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect delivery of other learning experiences in this unit. Please check your unit sites for announcements and updates one week prior to the start of your trimester or semester.

Last updated: 2 June 2020

Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Briohny Doyle




Incompatible with:


Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150 hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - cloud:

Online independent and collaborative learning activities including one scheduled online seminar per week (recordings provided)


‘Life Writing’ designates a vast literary movement that has gathered momentum and popularity in the 21st century. While creative nonfiction and personal essay proliferate across digital publishing, contemporary experiments with hybridity in auto/biography, lyric essay, autofiction, graphic memoir, and multimedia destabilise traditional ideas of authorship, allowing exploration of fluid and diverse identities and contexts.

This unit situates life writing as a central mode of contemporary discourse. By studying texts from writers such as Maggie Nelson, Alison Bechdel, Rachel Cusk and others, students will explore formal innovation, and engage in current debates about the possibilities and provocations offered by contemporary Life Writing. Exercises and assessments undertaken throughout the unit will develop skills in combining creative and critical modes of reading and writing practice.


These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit

At the completion of this unit, successful students can:

Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes


Articulate the cultural importance of life writing as a transnational creative practice, with particular attention to its hybrid and transmedia affordances

GLO2: Communication

GLO8: Global citizenship


Identify ways in which formal innovations in life writing respond to contemporary developments in both publishing and sociocultural contexts

GLO1: Discipline specific

GLO2: Communication


Communicate knowledge about contemporary life writing using various critical and creative forms of writing, including forms appropriate to publication

GLO2: Communication

GLO4: Critical thinking


Interact in a constructive and professional manner to others by engaging in process meetings (including a peer-led process meeting), and by communicating appropriately

GLO7: Teamwork

These Unit Learning Outcomes are applicable for all teaching periods throughout the year


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 (Individual) - Essay 2000 words or equivalent 40% Week 6
Assessment 2 (Individual) - Essay - Life Writing Major Work (critical or creative)  2500 words or equivalent 50% Exam week
Assessment 3 (Individual) - (Individual) - Exercise - Process assessment  500 words or equivalent 10% Week 12

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link below: ALL784 Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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